Eagles stand firm on AFL stadium threat

West Coast chairman Alan Cransberg says the club is standing firm on its extraordinary threat to boycott the new Perth Stadium until a suitable deal can be reached.

The new $1.2 billion, 60,000 seat stadium at Burswood is set to be completed in time for the 2018 AFL season.

But the Eagles say they will continue playing games at the ageing Domain Stadium unless a better user agreement for football at the new Perth Stadium can be sorted out.

Both the Eagles and Dockers are currently in negotiations with the WA State government over the new stadium deal.

Cransberg says the club’s preference is to play games at the new stadium.

“But we will not do that at any cost,” Cransberg said.

“If we go to the stadium under the current deal proposed, we’d have to jack up membership fees, we’d have to jack up corporate fees, and we don’t think that’s the right thing to do by our members and supporters.

“We won’t sign off on any deal that doesn’t give us the long-term viability and the financial stability we’ve had.”

Cransberg said there were a number of Victorian teams that had been left hung out to dry by poor stadium deals.

Last year, North Melbourne chairman James Brayshaw slammed the club’s home-game deal at Etihad Stadium, describing it as the “worst stadium deal in the history of world sport”.

St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs have also struggled to turn a profit under their current deals at Etihad Stadium.

The AFL are currently in the process of buying the Melbourne venue in a bid to overcome those problems, and Cransberg doesn’t want the Eagles to fall into the same trap at the Perth Stadium.

“There’s some real life examples around the place (where) the AFL has had to bail some clubs out, or continue to support clubs,” Cransberg said.

“And frankly, part of the equalisation is us supporting other clubs. And I don’t want to be in a situation where the West Coast Eagles are dependent on others for support.”

It’s uncertain whether the Eagles would be able to follow through on their threat, given the AFL is in charge of the fixturing.

Meanwhile, Cransberg described West Coast’s upcoming move to its new training and administration base at Laithlain Park as probably the second biggest decision in the club’s history.

He said it only ranks behind the initial decision to form the club in 1986.

The early stages of construction are now underway at Lathlain Park, and the Eagles expect to make the move there in October, 2018.

Cransberg described West Coast’s current facilities at Domain Stadium as being in the bottom quartile of the competition.

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